Author's Note: This is a pre-canon fic which is told from the perspective of my OC version of Siegfried and Tristan's father. I got to thinking about how much of an age difference there is between the TV versions of Siegfried and Tristan with no other siblings to fill that gap. Consequently, I started to wonder how that could have unfolded in the Farnon household, and thus, this fic came to me.
So, I'm pretty much extrapolating this from my own head canons which I'm sure differ from other fans'. Still, I hope my readers will enjoy my ideas and the story that was inspired by them...
Before this morning, if anyone had asked Edward Farnon what the happiest day of his life was, he would answered, without hesitation, that it was the day he had married Daphne Williamson, the woman he knew would be the love of his life. How could anything match the wonder he felt in the moment when he knew that he would spent the rest of his years with someone so dear to him? How could any other happiness compare?
It wasn't until today, a day that had barely begun with the sun just starting to be visible in the sky, that Edward discovered how mistaken he had been. A day when his son was born and he held him in his arms for the first time.
As he sat in a chair next to the window, Edward glanced occasionally at the parting clouds that faded in the rising light, but for the most part, he was lost in the deep blue of his new infant son's eyes. It was then that he understood why so many people rhapsodized over the joys of parenthood and realized that he hadn't even been aware of how much he had longed to be a father.
It had also taken a lot of prodding from the midwife to finally convince him to give the baby back to Daphne so he could be nursed.
"Go on, get away with you," the midwife had scolded. "This baby needs his mother's minding now."
Once he had handed his son over, Edward still refused to leave the room. He turned the chair he had been sitting in around and sat back down, leaning forward onto the back of it, his long legs restlessly bouncing on either side of it.
As he watched his wife and newborn son, music filled his brain. Pieces of his favorite Wagnerian operas sang through his head. Those operas had been played in his rooms constantly as he had begun his graduate work in chemistry. Now, however, the music had acquired a new life with their tales of birth and struggle and love taking on even more meaning to him.
Edward smiled. It couldn't be a coincidence that the name of one of the heroes from those stories had popped into his head while he was watching his son. What a fine name that could be for his boy. A perfect name. One of strength and determination and loyalty.
"Siegfried," he murmured, the smile never leaving his face, even hours later.
The next few years of Edward's life had been hectic, but happy.
It had taken plenty of hard work, but he had managed to complete his graduate work in less time than usual for his field. Granted, it helped that both his and Daphne's father had been willing to give them a living allowance so that Edward could concentrate on his studies and his new family. Still, it had also meant many long, sleepless nights until he could finish and find work at a research lab that had just been built on the outskirts of the Dales in Yorkshire.
Raising his son, Siegfried, had kept him equally busy. As soon as he could walk, Siegfried had taken to the fields and hills, determined to explore every inch of the countryside around him. Once he was able to read, a feat he had accomplished before he had started primary school, his son's thirst for knowledge exploded.
As a result, every day was a restless procession of learning, wandering, and more than a little spirited activity. This was welcomed when it meant hours of play in the gardens and with the animals Edward kept at their country house. It wasn't as ideal when it involved Siegfried disappearing from the back yard and being brought home by a constable who had found him strolling along the streets by himself later in the evening.
Still, Edward had taken it all with good humor. Siegfried was an industrious child and an obedient one most of the time. However, he was also an impatient boy who could easily become frustrated if he was forced to stick with something long after he had grown bored with it.
A decidedly problematic trait to have when it came time for Siegfried to attend school.
"Mr. Farnon, your son tried to walk out of class before the bell had rung. And he refused to finish the reading I had assigned him that day."
"That's just it, my dear, he had finished it. So when you didn't give him anything else to do, he thought it best to go find something else that could interest him."
"He couldn't have finished it that quickly. And he simply can't go wandering the halls whenever he feels like it."
"Now, now, Miss Fisher, you should know by now how exceptional Siegfried is. I can assure you that he did do the work you assigned him. He just needs something to maintain his interest is all."
Confrontations like this were not uncommon with Siegfried being such a willful student, especially when they involved teachers who disliked any sort of disruption to their plans and routines. Thankfully, Siegfried's excellent academic record and Edward's skillful use of the Farnon charm were enough to smooth over any problems that arose due to Siegfried's unconventional behavior.
Meanwhile, it wasn't long before Edward distinguished himself at work and was able to earn a generous enough salary to easily pay for the home they lived in, plenty of comforts for their home, and put aside money for his son's education.
It all meant that, at least on the surface, Siegfried had everything he could possibly wish for: a nice home, doting parents and any material things he really wanted.
There was, however, one other thing Siegfried wanted dearly that he hadn't been able to get yet: a younger brother.
Siegfried had only been in primary school for a month before he started talking about how much he wished he had a little brother to play with and that desire did not wane in the least over the next couple of years.
"Charlie Mills has a brother," Siegfried would tell them. "And he says they go out fishing together. And, Davy Barker says he's going camping with his brother when he gets old enough. I want a brother to do stuff with too."
Fortunately for Siegfried, it was a wish Edward shared with him.
"Just you wait, Siegfried," he would tell him. "Your mother and I…well, we're working on getting you a little brother or sister before too long. Don't you worry about that."
Such talks were usually just enough to encourage Siegfried to exercise a little more patience for a while. There weren't many people who could placate Siegfried completely when he wanted something so badly, but Edward always had a way of reaching his son even when no one else did.
Granted, it wasn't always easy given the stubborn, temperamental streak that Siegfried had developed, but Edward merely saw that as a healthy challenge for him to work through and did nothing to discourage his son's tenacious nature.
Instead, Edward tried to redirect Siegfried's enthusiasm to take care of a brother into an ever increasing interest in animals. Edward had moved to their current home with a dog and a cat of his own. It wasn't long though before their menagerie of pets grew with more dogs, cats, birds and even horses and a donkey joining the mix.
Siegfried had been delighted by the growing number of animals he could spend time with and help take care of. Edward never had to remind him of any chores related to their care, and Siegfried often spent more time with them than he did with the toys in his room. Mealtimes were often filled with Siegfried's stories about what he had seen the various animals doing, about his latest observations of the local wildlife, and about any stray dogs and cats he had seen in the local village.
"…and old Jenkins in the village. He said he had a cat that would run up a tree to fetch a ball. Father, can we teach Percy to do that? He likes running after mice. I saw one in his mouth just the other day. Oh and Mrs. Boyd, she said that dogs will always see better if you give them fish once a week. Shouldn't we do that?"
Edward had always listened to these spiels with interest. He knew that some people considered Siegfried rather tetchy and impetuous at times. He wished those people could see how genuine his son's concern was for every living thing that crossed his path. That they could witness nights when Siegfried sat up comforting a sick dog or the dismay he showed whenever one of the horses showed any signs of illness.
Edward knew his son already had a large, caring heart. It just needed more and more outlets for the compassion he carried inside him.
Then came the exciting day when Siegfried had just turned seven years old and Edward had sat him down on his lap to tell him something important.
"Siegfried, from now on, you'll need to be mindful of your mother and to make as little fuss as possible. She will need the house to be kept as quiet and peaceful. Do you understand?"
Siegfried's eyebrows scrunched together. "Why? Is Mother sick?"
"No, no," Edward smiled at him. "Nothing like that. No, your mother…she's expecting."
It took several seconds for Siegfried to process this information. Once he did, he nearly leapt out of Edward's lap.
"You mean…a little brother? I'm getting a little brother!"
"Maybe, Siegfried, maybe," Edward laughed. He grinned at him and patted his back. "Now keep in mind, you may end up with a little sister instead. There's no way to know yet."
Siegfried's smile twisted into a pout. "I want a brother."
"Now, Siegfried, that's not our decision to make," Edward gently chided. "We'll just have to see what happens. Until then, you must remember what I told you. Mother needs rest and quiet so she can concentrate on taking care of herself and of the baby growing inside her. Promise me you'll do your best for her."
"I promise," Siegfried said, his face solemn.
Edward nodded, his smile growing as he pulled his son close to him. Siegfried squirmed, his excitement making him restless, but he soon snuggled against his father's chest.
"Soon, Siegfried," Edward murmured, holding his son close. "You won't be alone for much longer."
Although the next few months seemed to fly by, Edward suspected that they weren't passing fast enough for Siegfried.
His son did just manage to behave quietly and calmly around the house. Although, part of that was because he spent any time he had left after finishing his studies outside, tending to the animals and camping in the nearby moors. Recently, Siegfried had come up with a whole new regimen for feeding their pets which he made sure to explain in detail to Edward. He had also started to teach one of the dogs some tricks like fetching, speaking, and sitting up, an accomplishment Siegfried seemed to believe would come in very handy indeed once he had a little brother to mind.
Edward was charmed by Siegfried's growing enthusiasm for their impending addition to the Farnon household. He couldn't stop grinning every time his son marveled at Daphne's growing belly and asked her about the baby. Some people had tried to warn him that Siegfried might become jealous of the new baby, but he doubted that would happen. Even as a small boy, Siegfried was far too generous for that.
No, this new child would have an elder brother who would welcome him or her into his home and his life.
Then came the night when Daphne woke him up in the middle of the night, three weeks before the baby was due.
"Edward….oh Edward, I think the baby is coming early….."
Edward had wasted no time in calling someone over to mind the house and Siegfried before rushing Daphne to the midwife. Siegfried had been asleep at the time, and Edward hoped that, by the time his son woke up, he would be able to deliver the good news.
Only an hour had passed when Edward found out that something was wrong.
"Mr. Farnon, we need to call the doctor over here right away. Quickly, before it's too late!"
Then came another long, anxious three hours before Edward heard any more. When the doctor finally did come down the steps to talk to him, he looked weary.
"I am sorry, Mr. Farnon. Your wife…she will be fine. She'll recover. But I'm afraid the baby was stillborn."
Just a few words, but they had the power to almost knock Edward to the ground. It took him several minutes to regain his senses enough to listen to more of the doctor's explanations. His wife would have to be admitted to the hospital for a couple of days. Edward traveled to the hospital with her and waited until she was asleep again to go home.
Once he walked inside, Edward had thought about lying face down on his bed for as long as he could. Before he could take even one step toward his room, however, Siegfried ran out to greet him, a joyous smile on his face.
"Father, is the baby here? When can I see my brother?"
Siegfried was nearly bouncing with anticipation, waiting for any word about the new sibling he expected to have. Before, Edward would have laughed and joined in with Siegfried's exuberance.
Now, it just broke his heart a little more.
"Siegfried…come here and sit with me."
The two of them sat down in the living room. A few seconds after he had settled in with Siegfried on his lap, Edward realized that this was the same chair where he had first told Siegfried about the baby. A part of him wanted to move, but he simply could not find the energy.
"Siegfried," Edward took a deep shuddering breath. "Your mother tried very hard to stay healthy while she was expecting, but…but something happened and she got sick. Very sick."
Siegfried's eyes widened and he gripped Edward's arms with tight fists. "Is Mother all right?"
"Yes, yes, thank Providence she will be fine," Edward assured him. "But Siegfried…I'm sorry, but she lost the baby."
Siegfried's mouth fell open, and in the back of his mind, Edward mused that he had never seen his son look so shocked before. It wasn't long though before shock turned into anger. Anger and hurt.
"No! No….you said….you said I'd have a brother. You promised!."
Edward shook his head, his eyes growing watery. He didn't even wince as Siegfried's grip on his arms tightened even more. Nor did he scold his son for raising his voice like that. No, Edward couldn't find fault with how Siegfried was acting.
Not when it was the other half of the crushing grief he already felt.
Edward drew his son close, embracing him tightly.
"I'm sorry, Siegfried," he whispered. "I, I'm so sorry."
Siegfried buried his face against his shoulder, and Edward listened to the muffled sounds of his son's angry sobs, patting his back gently to comfort him.
Hoping that Siegfried wouldn't hear the choked sounds of grief which occasionally escaped his throat.